Illinois High School Association Wins Webcasting Hearing

An Illinois county circuit court judge on Tuesday ruled that the Illinois High School Association did not breach the terms of a live stream an IHSA football playoff games last week. (IHSA broadcast-rights fees are only applicable during postseason IHSA events.)

Patrick W. Kelley of the 7th Judicial Circuit Court of Sangamon County determined during a hearing requested by the IHSA that the IHSA has the right to claim "exclusive rights" to postseason games - despite contrary claims from the IPA. As the Northwest Herald of McHenry County reported, "the 'exclusive rights' claim prevented the Northwest Herald's high school sports website,, from providing a webcast of Saturday's Montini at Marian Central Class 5A quarterfinal game."

"This is the ruling we expected," IHSA executive director Marty Hickman said in a statement. "Broadcast-rights fees have existed as a part of the association's policies across all mediums for nearly 30 years and as new broadcast technology has evolved, such as streaming, it has naturally fallen under that umbrella. Further, the IPA settlement centered around photographs and had no carryover into broadcasting of any kind."
In August of 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the favorable decision of the district court in the case of Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) and American-Hi Fi, Inc. v. Gannett Co., Inc. This judgement confirmed the rights of the WIAA to enter into exclusive agreements and administer fees for the Internet broadcasting of its tournament events.

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